Psyllium husk is a type of fiber that acts as a gentle, bulk-forming laxative. Possible benefits range from relieving constipation and treating diarrhea to managing blood sugar levels and boosting heart health.

Psyllium, similarly to other soluble fibers, passes through the small intestine without being completely broken down or absorbed.

Instead, it absorbs water and becomes a viscous compound that benefits constipation, diarrhea, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight loss.

This article explains all there is to know about psyllium, including seven ways it can benefit your health.

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Psyllium may help relieve constipation.

Psyllium is a soluble fiber derived from the seeds of Plantago ovata, an herb grown mainly in India.

People use psyllium as a dietary supplement. It is available in the form of husk, granules, capsules, or powder. Manufacturers may also fortify breakfast cereals and baked goods with psyllium.

Psyllium can absorb water and become a thick, viscous compound that resists digestion in the small intestine.

Its resistance to digestion allows it to help regulate high cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels. It can also aid weight management and relieve mild diarrhea and constipation.

Psyllium is available in various forms and has many health benefits.

Relieves constipation

Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative. Initially, it works by binding to partially digested food that is passing from the stomach into the small intestine.

It then helps with the absorption of water, which increases the size and moisture of stools. The end product is bigger and easier-to-pass stools, which can relieve constipation.

Diarrhea treatment

Research shows that psyllium can relieve diarrhea. It does this by firming loose stool and slowing down its passage through the colon.

Blood sugar management

Taking psyllium supplements can affect the body’s glycemic response to a meal, lowering fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c levels.

In one study, researchers gave 51 people with type 2 diabetes and constipation 10 g of psyllium twice per day. This resulted in reduced constipation, body weight, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol.

Boosting satiety

Fibers that form viscous compounds, including psyllium, may help slow stomach emptying and increase feelings of fullness after eating.

One study found that taking up to 10.2 g of psyllium before breakfast and lunch led to significant reductions in hunger, desire to eat, and increased fullness between meals compared to a placebo.

Weight management

Increasing satiety may reduce overall food intake in some instances, which can form an integral part of a weight loss program. However, a 2020 review of 22 trials reported no overall effect of psyllium on body weight, BMI, or waist circumference.

Researchers need to do more studies before knowing the true effects of psyllium on weight loss.

Lowering cholesterol

Soluble fibers, such as psyllium, can bind to cholesterol in the digestive process. This helps the body excrete it before passing through into the bloodstream, decreasing overall blood cholesterol levels.

learn more about the effects of fiber on cholesterol levels here.

Promoting heart health

All types of fiber can be good for the heart. Dietary fiber can improve cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Water soluble fibers, including psyllium, could help reduce blood triglycerides, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease. For example, a 2020 review of 11 trials reported that psyllium could reduce systolic blood pressure by 2.04 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The authors recommend using psyllium to help treat hypertension.

Positive prebiotic effects

Prebiotics are nondigestible compounds that nourish intestinal bacteria and help them grow. Researchers believe that psyllium has prebiotic effects.

Although psyllium is somewhat resistant to fermentation, intestinal bacteria can ferment some psyllium fibers. This fermentation can produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), including butyrate.

SCFAs help promote good gut and heart health, support the immune system, and reduce inflammation.

Taking psyllium supplements does not typically not produce serious side effects.

However, psyllium could delay the absorption of certain medications, therefore, doctors often recommend that people avoid taking it with other medicines.

Although uncommon, some allergic reactions, such as rashes, itching, or trouble breathing, can result from ingesting or handling of psyllium.

Most people can tolerate psyllium well, although people can have allergic reactions to it.

Generally, people should speak with a healthcare professional before taking new supplements or making broad diet changes.


Common dosages of psyllium are 5–10 g, with meals, at least once daily. However, when it comes to fiber, more is not always better. It is important to take it with water and drink it regularly throughout the day.

As a bulk laxative supplement, 5 g with a glass of water 3 times daily is a common starting point. People can increase this gradually if they find it tolerable.

It is best to follow the dosage instructions on the packaging or advice from a healthcare professional.

Read about how much fiber to get per day and how much is too much here.

Below are frequently asked questions relating to psyllium.

Is it okay to take psyllium fiber every day?

Taking psyllium fiber supplements every day is safe and well-tolerated in most instances.

What is the best form of psyllium to take?

There is no singular best form of psyllium to take. Psyllium is available as a mixable powder, as well as in capsule and tablet form. Psyllium husk supplements are typically available at higher potencies than psyllium seed products.

Is it better to take psyllium in the morning or at night?

There is no ‘best’ time to take psyllium supplements. People should work out which time of day they can consistently take supplements and stick to that.

Is there a downside to taking psyllium?

Psyllium does not typically cause serious side effects. However, some people may experience an allergic reaction. Additionally, psyllium husk may interact with some medications.

A person should speak with a doctor before taking new supplements.

What is psyllium good for?

People may take psyllium to help relieve symptoms of constipation.

What is the difference between psyllium and Metamucil?

Psyllium husk is a type of fiber that comes from the herb called Platago ovata. Metamucil is a brand of fiber supplement that contains psyllium husk.

Psyllium is a common laxative. It can also relieve diarrhea and help reduce triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels.

People can include this fiber supplement in their nutrition regimen and take it regularly as part of a healthy diet.